Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On Second Thought: Hudson Hawk

Hudson Hawk

When the guys over at the Midnight Movie Club podcast announced they were covering Hudson Hawk this season my first reaction was “that awful film?” Yet since Midnight Movie Club’s own Dan had expressed positive memories of the film, I decided to give Hudson Hawk another look 20 years later to see if the film aged better than I recalled.

The loosely woven plot centres around a cat burglar, Hudson Hawk (Bruce Willis), who is released from prison after ten years. Looking to finally go straight, Hawk only wants to drink his fancy coffees and spend time with his good pal Tommy Five-Tone (Danny Aiello). Yet, as with many films about characters trying to start a new life, Hudson Hawk is blackmailed by an eccentric couple (Richard E. Grant and Sandra Bernhard) to pull off one last job involving works created by Leonardo Da Vinci.

After 20 years, I must admit that my view on Hudson Hawk has softened a bit. Though the film is nowhere near The Last Action Hero, a film I hated when I first saw it but ended up loving on repeat viewings, I found myself engaged. It is a film that is sold as an action/adventure film but is really a screwball comedy. At times it feels like a cross between The Naked Gun films and The Da Vinci Code. Also, I never realized how funny some of Willis’ one-liners were in the film. Hudson Hawk works far better when you ignore all the plot holes and just focus on how zany everything is.

The major problem with the film is that it is hard to get past the ridiculous plot. Bruce Willis is credited with coming up with the story and it seems like he threw every idea crossed his mind into the film. Needless to say the story is a mess, there is so much nonsense going on that it is tough to keep straight what the actual pitch of the film is suppose to be. For example, the film features characters singing the insanely catchy “Swinging on a Star” song, eccentric CIA and Vatican agents, paralyzing blow-darts, bombs stuck in characters heads, jokes about the Pope’s television reception etc. This is the reason why I cannot fully change my stance on Hudson Hawk. The film is by no means good, but it is far more humorous now than it was 20 years ago.

Original Reaction: I would rather be a fish! (Grade: F)
On Second Thought: Still very flawed but funnier this time around. (Grade: C -)


  1. I'm glad you softened:)

    I've never understood why this movie has such a bad rep. Yes, I agree, the plot is all over the place - but as you say it's just so damn funny that I can forgive it anything. Even if it's not your cup of tea, you have to admit there are plenty of worse movies out there.

    Cheers for giving it another go man! :)

  2. Yeah I may need to give this one a second look too. I liked it as a kid, but then generally accepted that it was terrible through reading and catching bits and pieces on TV.

    Thanks for the new perspective though, it's tempted me to revisit it.

  3. @Dan – I should thank you guys for bringing the film to my attention again. I listened to your Runaway episode a few weeks back, that might be another film to add to the "to watch list".

    @Larry – Hudson Hawk is worth a look again, if for nothing else, to see Willis let loose. Also, it was nice to see Danny Aiello on screen. It has been years since I last saw him in a major role.

  4. Nay, I say, nay!

    Though I do have to give you cheers for giving it another shot as well, I'm with Dan and Lee - I've always loved Hawk (proud owner). Of course, we can find some common ground w/ Last Action Hero, another supposedly terrible film that I've always enjoyed (and another that would make a great show for the MidMo guys). Just listened to the Hawk episode today, and they made some solid points - the intro and outro feel awkward.

    Though, Courtney, did you actually listen to the Runaway ep? It sounds brutal (I must admit, brutally good bad, if you know what I mean). I'd never even heard of it prior to them covering it.

  5. @Fletch – Listen to the Runaway ep, which I found hilarious, and part of the reason I want to watch the film is due to the fact that it sounds vaguely familiar. Granted Runaway might be an awful film, but it could be one of those films that I would have fun watching. Similar to Megashark vs. Giant Octopus...

  6. Oh, I listened to that one already. I am kinda dying to see the robotic corn killer boxes...

  7. @Fletch – I laughed out loud when MidMo stated that the best way to confuse killer robots was to stand on a table. Classic.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.